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Country Reports

Somalia Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's authority is undermined by rival clans, the semi-autonomous regional states, and foreign governments. An impeachment motion was submitted against the president in December 2018 but rejected on procedural grounds, indicating parliamentary opposition will increase from Hawiye, Issaq, and Rahanweyne clan representatives. Even if President Mohamed remains in office, there will be delays to transferring security responsibilities from African Union Mission in Somalia forces to the Somali National Army in line with a phased drawdown that began in February 2019. Somalia’s economy remains heavily dependent on foreign aid and remittances to underpin growth, with subdued prospects expected amid challenging conditions. Authorities have made progress under the International Monetary Fund’s staff-monitored programmes. An end to civil conflict is necessary to qualify for participation in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and eventually achieve debt relief after implementing macroeconomic reforms. Islamist militant group Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (al-Shabaab) will continue to hold large swathes of territory in southern Somalia and, around once a month, conduct vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attacks and follow-up small-arms assaults in Mogadishu. These attacks target government assets and personnel. Al-Shabaab is unlikely to co-operate with the Islamic State. A territorial dispute between Puntland and self-declared independent Somaliland is unlikely to escalate, after Puntland elected a new president in January 2019. However, wage arrears continue to affect the Puntland Security Force (PSF). The arrears are likely to motivate protests and strikes by PSF elements, contributing to deteriorating security in the northeast. Piracy groups are based in Puntland and Galmudug. Trafficking in arms and humans is lucrative, limiting their motivation to kidnap crews and demand ransom payments. All piracy incidents in the Gulf of Aden during 2018 were unsuccessful, having declined from a peak in 2011 to 10 unsuccessful incidents in 2016. This was largely due to counter-piracy operations and security measures onboard vessels.
Last update: March 27, 2019

Operational Outlook

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) has very limited resources or the political willingness to scrutinise the use of budgetary proceeds and award of contracts by ministries, and oversight agencies are likely to face intimidation. Ministries are unlikely to fully enforce regulations on reporting of corruption, particularly within the finance, interior, and security ministries. Anti-corruption efforts are unlikely to improve the operating environment during President Mohamed's term until 2020, especially as he continues to depend on parliamentary support from Hawiye clan patrons present in these ministries. Unions are small, weak, and face intimidation by the government; they are unlikely to successfully oppose wage arrears and poor working conditions.

Last update: March 26, 2019

Terrorism

Severe

The Somali National Army (SNA) and regional African Union Mission in Somalia are conducting a joint offensive to secure supply routes in southern Somalia. The SNA is unlikely to retake significant territorial control or obtain full responsibility for security operations before 2020. Al-Shabaab fighters in early 2019 are likely to target pro-Islamic State forces in northeastern Puntland. However, Islamic State's presence is unlikely to be completely eradicated, with its operations being geographically limited and focused on assassination of government officials. Bosaso port is an aspirational target for both groups. VBIED attacks in capital Mogadishu occur once a month, targeting the airport, hotels, police stations, and government buildings.

Last update: December 28, 2018

War Risks

Former Puntland President Abdiweli Gaas's failed re-election bid at the 8 January 2019 regional election reduces the likelihood that his plans to recapture the disputed town of Tukaraq, Sool region will be pursued in 2019. Tukaraq was captured by rival Somaliland forces on 8 January 2018, and both sides have deployed artillery and mechanised units there. Military escalation is unlikely as neither side is currently capable of achieving a decisive victory. Urban centres and ports are unlikely to be affected. Separately, Galmudug state has improved relations with the Sufi-aligned ASWJ militia, but the organisation of power-sharing remains a key dispute that is unlikely to be resolved.

Last update: January 12, 2019

Social Stability

High

Disputes over the ongoing devolution process trigger violent protests, at least twice a year, between rival clans in Galkayo, Galmudug, Garowe, and Nugaal regions. Violent protests are likely in Baidoa, South West state, in opposition to regional elections held in December 2018 that were perceived to have been unduly influenced by the federal government. Separately, protests by the Puntland Security Force over wage arrears will probably intensify after a new regional president was elected in Puntland in January 2019. Roadblocks and the occupation of government buildings in Galkayo and Garowe is likely.

Last update: March 26, 2019

Health Risk

Extreme

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all individuals traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Yellow Fever: A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Very high

Roads throughout the country are in poor condition as they are generally neither maintained nor lit at night and traffic lights are rare. As such, driving can be a dangerous activity; it is advisable to avoid all road travel after nightfall. Additionally, landmines and IEDs are an ever present danger.

Illegal roadblocks, highway banditry, and other violent crime can occur at any time in any locality. When traveling by car, doors should be locked and windows rolled-up. 

All road travel should be undertaken with an armed escort, in a convoy, and in an all-terrain vehicle. Always travel with sufficient stocks of water, food, and fuel, as well as the necessary equipment to deal with breakdowns (spare tire, jumper cables, etc.). Always carry an effective means of communication and back-up.

Operations at Mogadishu's Aden Adde International Airport (MGQ) are regularly suspended with little to no warning. Additionally, the airport and aircraft operating out of it are susceptible to attack, as was the case in February 2016, when a bomb was smuggled onto a flight. Security procedures and checks have been enhanced at MGQ; however, the fact that a bomb was able to be carried onto the plane in the first place indicates Al-Shabaab may have agents employed within the facility.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

Cuts to water services and power outages are common across the country.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Somalia has an arid climate which is slightly more temperate along the coast.

There are two rainy seasons, from March to May and again from September to December. The air is very hot and dry between December and February. In the north, temperatures are generally higher than in the rest of the country and the region also receives less rain. The coastal regions are very dry. During the summer months, monsoon winds bring slightly lower temperatures.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +252

There are no emergency services in Somalia.

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019